Sunday, March 3, 2013

What to Do in Sagada: Spelunking Experience

Where: Sumaguing Cave
What: Everyone's favorite----spelunking (or so I think)

We woke up at around 6:30 AM because we were told that we should get going at around 7:30 or 8. After a heart breakfast of vegetable omelet, fried rice with veggies, and plain Arabica coffee, and some silly warm up with my friends, we're good to go.

Apparently, our main activity for today is spelunking but we had many side trips first.

1. Dokiw Hanging Coffins
Hanging coffins were not limited to those on Echo Valley. They are so rampant everywhere that you just have to have an eye to spot them in the many tall rock formations as you pass by. Here is one we spotted. Yes, we were just walking.

Can you see the, er, dead?

2. Lumiang Burial Cave
    We just came here for sightseeing, but for those who can spare more time and seeking a very thrilling adventure, I suggest you take the Cave Connection spelunking tour which starts here in Lumiang Cave and ends in Sumaguing Cave. Yes, 4-6 hours of grueling physical activity that will test your courage, flexibility, and faith to your tour guides (haha) miles deep under the ground. I WANT THAT!!! Sadly, not now though. So we just paid a visit to these rotting wooden and mossy coffins---some are even cracked open!---found in the mouth of the cave. Kuya Gareth said they don't put their dead here anymore, because imagine the smell it will bring to the tourists. Anyway, it's still a long, long and downward walk here but relatively easy due to some cemented steps (but huge steps I'm sure not fit for 5" Filipina girls like me).
3. Waking tour, viewing of rice terraces

4. Sumaguing Cave
At the entrance. Long steps greet us down to the cave
All smiles at the mouth of the cave. This is where you say goodbye to the outside world, and the cheery sunlight. Hello darkness *creepy laugh here*
Survived the first part, which was climbing down these huge slippery rocks, hanging on to them and gripping them because your life depends on it, you know. This is not my first time to go spelunking (the first one was in Biak-Na-Bato in Bulacan), so I'm anticipating the level of difficulty of this activity. You really have to be focused on where you're stepping and holding because one slip and it could mean a fall to the waiting jagged rocks. LISTEN TO YOUR GUIDES. ASK if you're not sure what to do. There's this time that I don't know where to put my foot in a particularly tricky decent. I was all, "Kuya, anong gagawin ko? Huhu. Saan?" and he gave me instructions. If you can't reach some foot landings (sorry for my short limbs), ask your guides to assist you.
 At this part, we ditched our slippers. I love these rocks! These seemingly smooth formations are actually so rough that it can help you defy gravity. Your dreams of becoming Spiderman can come true here! Even though water is flowing from these rocks, it's not slippery. Amazing. Still be careful when crossing here, because you'll be rewarded a drop to the pool if you don't.
 Indoor pool! The water is icy but oh so clear.
Kuya, thanks a lot. Our human ladder, one of our guides. If it weren't for them, I don't know how the hell can I climb down here. Oh, if you're worrying about your camera, you can give it to your guides. They are adept at taking your pictures and know the best spots.
 This is just amazing. Yes, this is a pool of water too.
 I'm just trying to fit in, people.
 I don't want getting left behind during tours, so I make it a point to be near the front always. Perks: many resting time while waiting for the others. Here we are chilling in this cramped space with two cool pools. It's so dark here if it weren't for the lamps. And, yes, you have to submerge yourself in the pool to cross over.

Now here comes one very tricky part:
 Ooof. We have to wall climb here sideways to get to the other side with the aid of rope and Kuya Manuel who came to fetch every single one of us (hooray for Kuya Manuel!). All you have to do is grip the rope very, very tightly, listen to his instructions on where to put your foot, and don't think about the very, very deep pool gleaming evilly at us.

I did it! Now, I have to lower myself in the water and...
...walk. Don't worry, it's not that deep. At most, it went up to my chest.
Just stay at the side where you can hold on to the wall of rocks.
Goodbye, friends! See you on the other side.

We're getting near the end. So now, after all those descending, we have to climb back up. Rapelling is the name of the game here. I swerved a bit and nearly lost my balance. Woops. Our guide was shouting, "not so big strides!" Okaaaay.
Squeezing, squeezing. I fit in!
 Here's one for you: the QUEEN of the PORN CAVE. And if you're wondering, of course there is a king, prince, and princess. Hahaha. I'll leave the others to your imagination (or better yet, check them out yourselves!).We fought for our lives just to get down here and see this. A-ma-zing.

Going up, up, up.
 Oh, and I was nearly left behind because my slippers were missing! It was not among the other pile of slippers where we left it. Good thing Kuya Gareth found it. Whew. Anyway, on the climb up, I decided to go barefoot. I really don't trust my slippers, especially because the rocks here were extra slimy and wet and mossy, and the climb is so steep. I'm so tired!

 We made it! We  were literally cheering loudly when we saw the daylight upon us. At this point we were feeling so strong and empowered at what we accomplished even though our bodies were moaning with fatigue. And yet, our faces fell when we remembered what was waiting for us outside...

...200+ steps. I wanna die! Fatigue hit me so hard that I realized I can't move my limbs anymore. It's so painful! I think it took A LOT of willpower for me to ascend these freaking stairs.
I don't know why we're still smiling here.

A well-deserved (and late) lunch of yummy ginataang tilapia and veggies.

TIME OF MY LIFE. <3 <3 <3

Location: Sagada, Philippines


  1. hey there sister..
    gareth here :)

    You have a very good memory of your tour here in sagada :)
    I so appreciate how you wrote this entry... anyone who reads this blog about our caves will surely be magnetized...

    thanks thanks, i really loved this :)

  2. Thank you so much! :) I'm looking forward to another experience---the cave connection, that is!